The power to connect: our 50-year heritage

: By Richard Turner the Chief Operating Officer at JDR

So where did it all start? The original business was formed 50 years ago as a hose design and sales company which rapidly expanded to include manufacture and product testing, becoming Jacques Cables Systems in the 1970’s. The JDR business begun in the early 1990s when two of the most respected names in the industry, Jacques Cable Systems (UK) and De Regt Special Cable (Holland) merged.  JDR has since been supplying subsea cabling and services to power offshore operations. Today, our project portfolio is rife with exciting projects from subsea oil and gas to offshore wind.

In 2006, we won our first offshore wind contract –  supplying two cables for the Beatrice Demonstrator project. Closely followed was our involvement in a much larger offshore wind project –  Greater Gabbard, where we supplied inter-array cables for its development. The 140-turbine array was the world’s largest and JDR fended off competition from international rivals. This sparked a chain of events that allowed us to expand into the renewables market.

We opened our manufacturing facility in Hartlepool in 2009, bringing 200 jobs to the area, and since then we’ve thrived! Now the Hartlepool plant is one of the world’s most advanced cable and subsea umbilical manufacturing facilities. JDR now supports around 500 jobs worldwide, with roughly half based in Hartlepool.

In 2016, JDR installed and commissioned the UK’s largest horizontal lay-up machine,  used to twist together components into an umbilical providing power and control to the seabed. We’ve also qualified our new 66kV wet-design cable technology to reduce the costs of offshore wind operations. Combined, these achievements demonstrate just how far we have come as a company.

As we’ve grown, it has become increasingly important to us as a business that we reinvest in the UK’s energy future. Where once JDR supported UK jobs through the oil industry, we now support jobs for offshore wind too and rely on UK suppliers wherever possible. It’s vital to the future of the industry that we inspire the next generation of the UK’s energy engineers. One area we’re particularly proud of is our apprenticeship programmes  – designed to encourage young people into the sector.

In 50 years a lot changes. With that change comes great opportunity.

As oil and gas operators seek new ways to extend asset life, our unique subsea power cable technology can provide the energy those operators will need on the seabed. Despite reduced subsidies, offshore wind remains a growth industry. US offshore wind is beginning to advance and will need expertise from experienced companies like JDR.  The future holds increased challenges, with floating wind turbines gaining traction, as developers seek new technology for wind power generation in deeper waters.  Our 50-year offshore pedigree and experience will position JDR well as a leading UK technology provider in these developments – precisely the kind of research and development challenges that JDR thrives on.